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How to Cook the Perfect March Madness Brisket

If March is anything, it is a month of traditions. For the American calendar that means March Madness. With a month-long college basketball playoff season upon us, it stands to reason there will be plenty of chances to enjoy game-time food favorites: nachos, pizza, chicken wings, jalapeno poppers, beer, and of course brisket.

Brisket, you ask? Well, if you are thinking of corned beef brisket, you have St. Patrick of Ireland to thank. With St. Patrick’s day falling practically smack dab in the middle of the playoffs, it stands to reason that this traditional Irish dish, made in honor of St. Patrick, has become a staple for the March Madness celebration.

It isn't the easiest dish to make, attempting to throw together a brisket, and it may leave you standing at the oven, daunted. However, with a few simple tips you’ll be able to master the art of cooking this delicious cut of meat.

Brisket refers to a cut of meat taken from the breast or lower chest of beef or veal. Because of where it is situated, this muscle contains a significant amount of connective tissue, meaning the meant must be cooked slowly, and with a good amount of moisture, to tenderize the connective tissue. Make sure you start good and early so your brisket is good and tender before tip-off.

Here’s a classic BBQ Beef Brisket recipe that can be served by itself, or on hamburger or hoagie buns.

  • 2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning or cayenne pepper
  • 6 pounds lean beef brisket
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 cup ketchup3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke flavoring
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons mustard powder
  • salt and pepper to taste

Preparation method

Prep: 20 min | Cook: 6 hours | Extra time: 8 hours (for chilling)

  1. Pour liquid smoke over brisket. Rub with onion salt and garlic salt. Roll brisket in foil and refrigerate overnight.
  2. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C). Place brisket in a large roasting pan. Cover and bake for 5 to 6 hours, until it is fork tender.
  3. Remove from oven, cool, and then slice. Put slices back into pan.
  4. In a medium saucepan, combine brown sugar, ketchup, butter, water, celery salt, liquid smoke, Worcestershire sauce, mustard, salt and pepper. Stir, and cook until boiling.
  5. Pour sauce over meat slices in pan. Cover and bake for 1 more hour.
  6. Serve by itself or on hoagie or hamburger buns.
Ben Davis

About Ben Davis

A serial entrepreneur, Ben Davis is founder of The Gents Place and a leading investor in gentlemen's refinement and confidence.

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